U.S. lifts brucellosis restrictions on B.C. cattle

(Resource News International) — The temporary restriction on sexually intact cattle being exported from British Columbia to the U.S. has been lifted, according to an official with the British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association.

“The (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) went last week to the (U.S. Department of Agriculture) and requested that border restrictions be lifted and as of this morning they have all been lifted,” said Kevin Boon, the BCCA’s general manager in Kamloops.

USDA imposed the temporary ban at the end of May because of positive test results for brucellosis from three cows originating from B.C. farms. Further testing from the CFIA proved the original test had produced false-positive results.

Yersinia bacterium is what caused the false-positive result, according to the CFIA. The bacterium is known to give false-positive results for brucellosis and is not a concern for health or trade.

The temporary restriction was in place for three weeks, during which time cattle could be exported to the U.S. but had to test negative beforehand for brucellosis, at an additional cost to the producer.

The restriction had little effect on trade during that time period, as it is typically a slow season for exporting cattle, Boon said.

“If it had happened at a different time of year it could’ve impacted us a lot more,” said Boon. “It did have an impact on some of our exports and the cost, but not a lot.”

Some cattle were exported during the temporary restrictions, he said, and those cattle were tested for the disease.

Brucellosis is a disease that affects mammals such as cattle, bison, swine, elk and deer. Humans can also contract the virus from animals.

The disease spreads through contact with infected tissues and fluids, as well as through the consumption of milk, feed or water that has been contaminated.

When cattle are infected with brucellosis the disease spreads through their blood and lymphatic systems, infecting tissues and organs.

A major concern with cattle is its effect on the reproductive system, as infections can cause infertility, weak calves and abortions. The disease can also cause joint infections, resulting in lameness, enlarged joints and decreased productivity.

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